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Sharks could welcome Canucks' goalie change

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- The Vancouver Canucks have the San Jose Sharks guessing which goalie they'll face Sunday night at HP Pavilion in Game 3 of their first round Stanley Cup Playoffs series (10 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN, NBCSN, CSN-CA).

Goaltender Cory Schneider, who missed the first two games with a mysterious "body" injury, was on the Canucks' flight Saturday to San Jose. Of course, so was goaltender Roberto Luongo, who started and lost the first two games of the series at Vancouver.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan was asked Saturday how Schneider being in net would change the series.

"It might be a great thing for us," McLellan said. "I think Luongo's been tremendous. I really do. I think he's made some great saves in the series, just as [our Antti] Niemi has. If they want to take that quality of goaltender out of the lineup and go to the other one, we'll take our chances with that as well."

Luongo has allowed six goals in two games. He has a goals-against average of 2.90 and a save percentage of .902. Niemi posted a goals-against average of 1.44 and a save percentage of .951 for the Sharks.

The Sharks went 3-0-0 against Schneider during the regular season. He had a 2.93 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.

Sharks forward Raffi Torres, a former Canucks player, said a goaltender change wouldn't change San Jose's approach.

"I think you have to go after him," Torres said of Schneider. "Look at Lou. Lou gave that team two good chances to win games. He’s been solid. ... We can’t really be worried about who’s in the net. We have to be worried about getting pucks to the net and making it tough for him to see pucks."

Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said, "Obviously both those goalies are really good goalies. I don’t know if it makes that much of a difference. We’re going to try to do the same things everybody does to be successful."

The Sharks had an optional skate with a handful of players on the ice, but one of those was center Scott Gomez, who hasn't played since taking a big hit against the Dallas Stars on April 23. When healthy, Gomez centers the fourth line and plays on the No. 2 power-play unit.

McLellan said he was optimistic about Gomez's chances to play Sunday.

"I think he's a lot closer," McLellan said. "There's no doubt we'd like to get him into the series. He makes a big difference to our team, especially with the power play. He has the ability to control the puck a lot. As soon as he's ready and feels good and knows he can go into that type of competitive environment and contribute, we'll use him."

Gomez said, "Hopefully I'll get out there soon. You never know."

Sharks top-six forward Martin Havlat hasn't practiced or played since midway through the first period of Game 1 when Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa delivered a low blow with his stick. McLellan didn't rule out Havlat for Sunday's game.

"We'll see with Marty in the morning," McLellan said.

McLellan did rule out defenseman Jason Demers (lower body) for Game 3.

"He's not skating yet, so he's not going to be an option for us tomorrow," McLellan said.

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